Now, there are thousands of posts and articles on goal setting, and as a teacher I have done plenty of research on this before so I pretty much knew how to do it.
Or so I thought. To one extent, setting goals hasn’t quite worked before, at least not in the long term, but also the fact that taking your own advice is difficult! So I decided to go back to basics and try to work out what was missing.
Firstly there is the ‘smart’ approach to goal setting, making sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Relevant and Time-bound.
And alongside that, “Every big task is a series of small tasks” – So turning a huge project into all the single, tiny steps you can do every day.
For me that means looking at what I want to achieve in a year, then breaking those goals down to monthly actions , weekly actions and daily actions.
But what I have realised is that actually choosing the ‘big goals’ is difficult for me – I’ve said it’s about being my best me, but what is my best me? So I started googling things (which can leads to hours lost on all sorts of random stuff as we all know). I can’t do everything at once – I’ve done that before, and I do too much / get overwhelmed. So as well as the overall goals, I will have ‘themes’ to each month where I introduce / focus on an area – this is where the 30 day challenges came in. I realised I was also getting confused between the actions I’ll take to reach a goal (well defined thanks to Pinterest challenges) and the goal itself (hardly defined, other than ‘best me’).
What I needed was clarity over what is a goal and what is an action, and how they work together in setting my goals.
For example – thanks to Pinterest, one of my goals is to do burpees for a month (this is a 30 day challenge thing). Now this is a goal or target if you will. But what is more important is *the why* – why am I doing burpees? Is it to learn to do a burpee? (Practising a piece of music for a month might be to allow you to play the piece off by heart for example) Or is it to get fitter? For me it is to get fit *obviously*… then I realise, it’s not that obvious. I need to define my vision of being fit as the ability to do burpees (among other things), and that my goal is to be fit in order to include the burpee challenge in my project 35 plan. And this is far from the only example! So I need to spend some time defining my goals much more clearly.
Often goals are set top down: big goal -> middle goal -> small goal -> tiny goal
But approaching them the other way can work too – which is what I’m doing. I’m using the inspiration that Pinterest has provided in terms of 30 day challenges as my starting point, then working up from there (so tiny goal -> big goal)
How this works:
1. I want to do x (e.g. Burpee challenge)
2. Well ok, that’s great, but why?
3. Because… (should link to larger more general goal).
One of my overall goals is to be fit. But ‘fit’ is a varying concept, Olympic athlete fit or busy career girl fit?
My point is, being fit isn’t a specific enough goal. This is where thinking of the actions / activities a fit person does can help, and the Pinterest challenges are helping me to define this.
Photo credit – thanks to Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash